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Discretion  by Bodkin

. . . Is Sweet


‘He is looking this way again,’ Legolas observed.

‘Do you think it is time for another smile?’ Elladan asked.

‘How long do you plan to continue this?’ his friend enquired.  ‘Glorfindel seems to be a shadow of his usual self.’

‘Let me see,’ Elrohir remarked.  ‘How long did he leave us in ignorance of the meaning of that Khuzdul nonsense he consented to our learning?  Some three millennia, was it not?  An age of the sun?  Do you not think that calls for rather more than a week or two of torment?’

‘But he knows that you have something on him,’ Legolas pointed out.  ‘You spent three millennia in ignorance.’

‘Ignorance is not a state to be envied,’ Elrohir declared.  ‘At least Glorfindel is not going to be making a fool of himself without knowing it.’  He waited until the golden-haired elf glanced towards him suspiciously and beamed back at him a wide smile that displayed his even teeth.

‘I think he thinks you are planning on eating him,’ Legolas commented.

‘We would not want to do that,’ Elladan echoed his brother’s smile.  ‘If he did not taste good enough for a Balrog to finish, he will certainly not be tasty enough for us.’

‘Nimloth did a very good job in getting him worried.  Highly skilled.  Anyone would think she had been coached.’  Legolas lifted an enquiring eyebrow.

Elrohir turned away, his broad smile becoming a much more natural grin.  ‘She is a clever elleth,’ he said.  ‘But you need not be so suspicious – what she said was completely spontaneous.  Not a word from either of us.’  He paused.  ‘I would not dare,’ he admitted.  ‘Sirithiel would dismember me like a rabid bear if she thought I was using our daughters in this sport.’

‘Miriwen says we are not to go too far,’ Elladan added.  ‘If we do not keep it at the level of a game, she says she will bring in the High Command and put a stop to it before we find ourselves in a battle that lasts until the end of days.’

‘The High Command?’

‘Naneth,’ Elladan clarified.  ‘She is, for some strange reason, very fond of Glorfindel.  She would never consent to our tormenting him too much.’

‘I fail to see how smiling could be construed as torment,’ Elrohir objected.

‘It is, though.’  Legolas laughed.  ‘Very clever torment, too, because it is almost impossible to counter.’

‘But I think we will wait until he actually challenges us before we let slip any more,’ Elladan decided.

‘There is no rush,’ his brother said. ‘Let us savour each moment of his discomfort.’

‘I wish you would tell me what you have discovered,’ Legolas complained.  

‘If you know you will become part of the scheme,’ Elladan warned.  ‘Glorfindel will not hesitate to include you in his vengeance.’

‘He will think I know anyway,’ the fair-haired elf said ruefully.  ‘And I think he has been looking for a way to get his own back ever since I revealed this matter to you.’

The twins exchanged a lightning glance.  ‘Well,’ Elrohir confided, ‘you know that Glorfindel is unbelievably slippery – we have never been able to find out much on top of what little is common knowledge about him.’ He grinned.  ‘We twisted Daernaneth’s arm and got her to seek out someone she knew who had dwelt in the House of the Golden Flower and cared for the perfect elf throughout his early years.’

Elladan laughed.  ‘And throughout his adolescence,’ he added, ‘when the – er – shield of his own flawlessness occasionally became a little dented.’  He leaned closer to Legolas’s ear.  ‘She enjoyed talking to us about her favourite ellon,’ he said.  ‘Telling us how sweet he was – and how he had dreams of fire and bitter cold that made him wail until she sat him on her lap where he would suck his thumb until he fell asleep.’

‘And that he did not like sleeping in the dark – or without his favourite stuffed horse – Asfaloth, would you believe!’ Elrohir added.  ‘He is consistent at least!  But for our purposes, one of her best stories was of sweet little Glorfindel hanging round the warriors and picking up some very interesting language . . .’ He paused and grinned.  ‘Which he then addressed to Lady Idril. Where everyone could hear him. His naneth, I am told, was mortified – and insisted on a very full and very public apology.’

‘And that,’ Elladan pronounced, ‘was only one of many tales she told.  There was also the one where our favourite elf – when rather older – borrowed his adar’s stallion.’

‘Which then ran away with him,’ Elrohir said gleefully, ‘and ended up tipping him off into a pool of sloppy mud in the corner of a field occupied by a family of piglets – leaving him to walk home, covered from golden head to foot in – nature’s gifts.’

‘I believe,’ Elladan remarked, ‘he attracted quite an audience.’ He grinned.  ‘Not an entirely admiring one, either.   And now,’ he looked as pleased as a cat in the dairy, ‘all we have to do is smile – and drop hints.’

Legolas gazed at the grinning twins for a moment, then burst out laughing.  ‘Remind me never to get on your bad side,’ he said.  ‘You are far too ruthless!’

‘Us?’ Elrohir said innocently.  ‘We are rank amateurs, my friend.  But amateurs with connections in high places.  And those who would interfere with us would be wise to remember it.  We might take a while to catch on – but once we have. . .’  He grinned. ‘We refuse to let go until we have obtained satisfaction.  And this is very satisfying!’ 

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